Forbes 400 Members Who Got Rich Off Of Commodities

The Forbes 400 is a list created by Forbes which lists the top 400 wealthiest Americans by net worth. The 2012 list is the 31st annual list from Forbes, which was released in September. Out of the top 400 wealthiest Americans, more than 10% of them became wealthy as a result of their stake in a commodity stock [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

Below is a list of five of 2012’s Forbes 400 members, and how commodities made them very wealthy individuals:

Richard Kinder (#38)

Richard Kinder ranks 38 on the Forbes 400, and is worth $9.4 billion. Although Kinder began his career in the law industry, he joined the energy industry after filing for bankruptcy. He worked for Enron Corporation, where he served as COO and president from 1990 to 1996. In 1997, Kinder founded oil and gas company, Kinder Morgan Inc (KMI). Most of his fortune came from his stake in the company. In the past year, Kinder earned $3 billion when the share price of KMI increased by 50%. Both Kinder and his wife have donated significant amounts of their fortune to the Kinder Foundation, which aims to improve the quality of life in Houston, and to Rice University, to enhance the school’s Institute for Urban Research [see also Citi's Energy Outlook For 2013].

Dannine Avara, Randa Williams, Milane Frantz, Scott Duncan  (#72)

Dannine Avara, Randa Williams, Milane Frantz, and Scott Duncan are the four children of pipeline entrepreneur, Dan Duncan. Their father was the founder of natural gas liquid company, Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPD). When the company’s stock price surged, it made each of his children worth $4.7 billion, and putting them all at number 72 on the 2012 Forbes 400.

Duncan grew up poor, and started the company in 1968 with only two trucks. The company owns more than 50,000 miles of natural gas, oil, and petrochemical pipelines today.

Randa Williams is the most involved in the company of the four siblings, where she serves on the board. Williams also serves on the board of Encore Bank. She is known for being involved in several charities in Houston.

Trevor Rees-Jones  (#79)

Trevor Rees-Jones ranks number 79 on the Forbes 400, and is worth $4.5 billion. After graduating from Dartmouth College, Jones entered the law industry, but later switched to oil and gas.  He founded Chief Oil & Gas Co in 1994, which was created at a great time, allowing him to invest in the Barnett shale and Marcellus shale regions in Texas, and then later selling them at astonishing prices. Jones has donated a significant amount of money to charities including the Museum of Nature & Science, the Boy Scouts and the Parkland Foundation.

Wilbur Ross, Jr. (#205)

After graduating from Harvard Business School, Ross began working at Rothschild in 1976, and later started his own bankruptcy advisor business. He is best known for his investing, which put him in the number 205 spot on the Forbes 400 and made him worth $2.3 billion. He is also known for restructuring companies which were failing, in many industries including steel and coal.  Recently, Ross acquired a large stake of Navigator Holdings, which specializes in marine transport, including liquefied petroleum gas. Although he is typically bullish with transportation investments, he sold his coal company last year, predicting a fall in price [see also The Definitive Guide to Fracking].

Additionally, Ross founded International Coal Group (ICO) in 2004. The company operates in 12 mining complexes in Kentucky, Maryland, and West Virginia.

William Macaulay (#392)

William Macaulay ranks number 392 on the Forbes 400, and is worth $1.1 billion. He founded energy company, First Reserve in 1984, which now holds $23 billion in 38 companies, and $200 billion in revenue. First Reserve is now the largest private equity fund with a focus in energy companies. Macaulay owns coal in China, gas in Pennsylvania, and solar plants.

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

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